Empidoidea is a diverse fly group with over 10,000 species, found worldwide. They are often called "dance flies" because many species form aerial mating swarms. Many Empidoidea are predaceous on other insects, but in the subfamily Empidinae, only males capture prey, which is given to the female during mating as a "nuptial gift". In some other groups (such as Hemerodromiinae, Hybotinae, and Tachydromiinae), one pair of legs is larger and modified for grasping prey. Many empidids, including some predaceous species, feed on nectar or pollen, and some (especially Empis spp.) have a long proboscis for reaching nectar. Long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae) mostly live on the margins of streams, lakes, oceans or other water bodies, though some are common on vegetation or tree trunks.
Classification: Empidoidea were formerly classified in just two families: Empididae (dance flies) and Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies). Chvála (1981, 1983) found that some "Empididae" were more closely related to Dolichopodidae, and split the Empididae into several families. We follow the classification of Sinclair and Cumming (2006), which built upon Chvála's work and recognizes five families: Empididae, Hybotidae, Atelestidae, Brachystomatidae and Dolichopodidae (including Microphorinae and Parathalassiinae). Of these, all but the newly recognized Brachystomatidae are supported by DNA sequence data (Moulton and Wiegmann 2007). Two genera left unplaced by Sinclair and Cumming are sometimes placed in their own families: Homalocnemus and Oreogeton. Several others are left unplaced as the "Iteaphila group."
This site was created in hopes of collaborative development with empidoid researchers. Please add content about your favorite genera and species. To start with, we have added content for six empidid species: